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Trees to be planted to strengthen flood control dams, create riverside parks

SHANGHAI plans to plant trees on flood control dams along local rivers to improve the city’s environment and stabilize the dams, the city’s water authority said yesterday.

The city government will at first plant trees on the dams in suburb Qingpu this year as part of a test, said Gu Jinshan, director of the Shanghai Water Authority, at a news conference.

“The trees can greatly enhance the anti-flood ability of the dams while increasing the forested rate of the city,” Gu said.

Many of local dams have had cracks appear and were damaged during the city’s heaviest rain in half a century last October. One major reason is many local farmers reclaimed the earth of the dams to plant vegetables, weakening the dams’ foundations, he said.

The water authority will begin making farmlands on the dams into forests and set restricted areas within 15 meters of the dams that cannot be farmed.

“The trees will also make local anti-flood dams into riverside parks for local residents,” he added.

During the test operation, some 5 square meters of forested area along 428 kilometers of dams will be planted along the rivers in Qingpu within three years, when the plan is scheduled to be spread to other areas of the city.

The plan is expected to increase the forest coverage rate of the district to 15 percent by 2016 from currently less than 10 percent, according to the authority.

The Huangpu River rose above the alert level in October after the heaviest rain in more than 50 years battered the city, triggered by typhoons Fitow and Danas. A 15-meter section of a floodwall along the river in Songjiang District collapsed during the rainstorm.

Many downtown roads, including major roads in Lujiazui in the Pudong New Area, were flooded. Cars spluttered to a halt while residents could be seen walking barefoot through water that was up to 20 centimeters deep.

This year, the authority will renovate some 18 sections of local roads that are likely to flood during heavy rainstorms, Gu said. The renovation will be finished by the beginning of the flood season around September.

Drainage systems across the city will also be dredged to ensure accumulated water can be drained in time, he added.

The authority will also train 42 anti-flood and drainage special teams this year. Rescuers and engineers with the team can tackle accumulations of water and ensure the normal operation of telecommunications and the power supply.

Meanwhile, the authority has picked the 10 most beautiful scenic spots with local floodwalls, as nominated by the public. They include the dams of the North Bund area in Hongkou District and the riverside area in Xujiahui in Xuhui District. The dams have become public parks for local residents, the authority said.


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